When we are young, we often define ourselves through hobbies or dear free time pursuits – we are enthusiastic soccer players, hard core metalheads or have the neighborhood’s largest stack of Pokémon cards. Interests are often widespread, free time is versatile, and we tend not to use all our waking time for school and homework. As we grow into adulthood and work becomes the most time-consuming activity, we face the challenge to combine free time with busy work life. It seems like being busy – too busy even – has become somewhat of a status pursuit. At BearingPoint, we strive to act differently. We believe in the power of free time and pursue versatile activities in our leisure.

Hobbies provide positive stimuli

Hobbies have been time and again scientifically proven to have concrete benefits, like providing social stimuli and stress relief, increasing brain power, contributing to better mental and physical health, feeling happier - or just giving a well-deserved break to relax, recharge and have fun! As an add-in bonus, hobbies often manage to bring us new perspective or teach useful skills to utilize at the workplace, too.

At BearingPoint ‘work-life balance’, rather than being just a good idea on paper, is treated as a valued state that holds true in the long run. Two BearingPoint employees shared their experiences of balancing work with a dear hobby and what they bring back to their work from these free time activities.

Fearlessly sailing into the horizon

If you’ve ever watched sailors cling out of a boat it is not because they feel like playing around to stretch their feet, but because the boat will turn over unless the crew shifts their weight simultaneously to balance the boat. As a hobby sailing is a true team effort and requires countless hours of practice with the crew. However, at its core, the sport culminates in leadership and entrepreneurial action. It´s about teaching others how to manage the sails and motivating tired crew members during the last miles in while sharing the love of the sport in the calming Finnish nature.

Our Consultant Emma has called sailing a dear hobby for just over ten years now. Once the ice clears out and day temperatures stay over 10 degrees, you can find her rushing out of the office to catch the evening winds or take part in the playfully serious Tuesday competition in the Helsinki archipelago. For her, this is the best way to clear her mind and distract from any upcoming deadlines!

Just like sailing is more than sailing safely from harbor to harbor, management consulting is more than managing client projects from beginning to end. Teaching the client new skills, motivating them to make the recommended change and, of course, getting them the promised results is essential part of the big picture. At best, a skipper with the crew, just like consultant with a client, is a team member, coach and mentor all in one, enabling learning and growth and supporting in developing skills or career.

Route from ballet to management consulting

This year, our Analyst Pilvi is celebrating her 20th ballet anniversary. Practicing ballet has taught her patience and endurance along with a better understanding about perfectionism. Turns out that many learnings from ballet have also been extremely valuable in the field of consulting.

Skills for patience and endurance define the potential to become a good ballet dancer. No short cuts exist in becoming a truly talented dancer – an enormous amount of practice is essential. This also applies to consulting. Without getting to know the client's culture and needs for the solution to be provided, good gains are hard to achieve. Change requires both endurance and patience from the consultants in allowing themselves to invest enough time and resources to create the best solutions for the clients.

A new ballet choreography might first feel impossible to do. When learning the routine, though, it is divided into smaller parts and only after practicing them separately, the parts are combined seamlessly together into a well-balanced exercise. The same logic works in consulting, as an intimidating challenge can be tackled by dividing it into smaller pieces - by approaching each issue one by one, the challenge as a whole becomes easier to manage. 

Regardless of the assumption we might have about ballet, perfectionism isn’t everything. Perfectionism doesn't automatically lead to perfect results, since a ballet dancer can never really excel by only focusing on the technical skills. Without powerful interpretation and enthusiasm, dancing will remain as a set of moves and poses performed by the dancer instead of sharing a touching story with the audience. In consulting, a good consultant gets to know the client companies' culture and finds out what truly adds value for the customer instead of merely focusing on offering the most advanced tools. A good consultant supports the clients in building their story successfully forward.

No Giselle or Swan lake can be performed alone by only one ballerina, nor can only one consultant alone offer the best solutions for the clients – it all comes down to good teamwork and team spirit.

Authors

Emma Mieskonen, Business Consultant, Digital & Strategy, BearingPoint Finland
Pilvi Lehtinen, Business Analyst, Enterprise Performance Management, BearingPoint Finland

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